This weekend my parents came to visit from New York. At dinner on Saturday night, we went to a restaurant that demonstrated they have clearly thought about a small but all too common problem diners encounter.
When we arrived at the restaurant, we were told that the wait for a table would be about 40 minutes. Not a problem, I said that we would wait. Then they did something different. They asked for the number to cell phone number.
Then the restaurant sent me text message when our table was ready. It was so easy.
The benefits to doing it this way are obvious. Customers waiting to be seated don't have stay hyper-vigilant to a difficult to hear public address system. And those already seated don't have to be bothered by one during their meal.
Furthermore, this eliminates the need for customers to carry around another device. Even if it's just a couple minutes, carrying a clunky, coaster-sized pager, is just a hassle. And it's silly to do when most people are already carrying a phone.
This process is easy for everyone too. When the hostess at the Silver Spring House took my phone number, I watched her type it into into an iPad. I don't know which app they use; but, it looks like solving this problem comes with a choice.